Labor Ministry Plans Training Manual for Migrant Workers, Recruiters

The Ministry of Labor plans to release an instruction manual for migrant workers and the recruitment companies that send them abroad, officials said this week, as allegations of mistreatment and abuse continue to dog the sector.

“Test Migration”, a manual aimed at better preparing workers to move abroad, will be published either this month or next, according to Hem Bun Ny, director of the ministry’s department of manpower and employment.

“Now we have approval from the minister already, we just need to make a few changes,” he said.

The document, produced in cooperation with the International Organization for Migration, provides instructions for labor recruitment firms on how they should conduct pre-departure training, Mr Bun Ny said, adding that he could not discuss specific details until nearer the date of publication.

It will also contain information for the workers on the traditions, culture and laws of destination countries like Malaysia and Thailand, including information on whom to contact if they need emergency assistance, he said.

Moeun Tola, head of the labor project at the Community Legal Education Center, said that arming migrant workers with this information would not necessarily help them if they find themselves victims of abuse.

“I appreciate the [Ministry’s] commitment…but how to call the Embassy if the employers won’t even let them have a phone,” he said.

CLEC has been conducting an investigation into the plight of migrant workers going to Malaysia to work as domestic helpers, according to labor project program officer Hoy Pich Sovann.

On Monday, the center will offer legal advice to the family of Yon Mab, a woman who died in what her family says are suspicious circumstances while undergoing training at the VC Manpower Co Ltd center in the capital’s Sen Sok district, he said.

The Labor Ministry is currently working on a sub-decree designed to regulate the recruitment of migrant workers, according to Ho Vuthy, deputy director of the general department of labor at the Ministry. Sections of the planned sub-decree–prohibiting forced detention and the practice of lending money to workers to cover their initial costs–were printed in Khmer-language newspapers last week.


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